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Yochs, Frenchy and Mae-Mae: Nicknames of the Cowgirls

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NCAA 2019 Division I Women's Soccer Championship

Junior Gabriella Coleman takes the ball toward the goal as The Oklahoma State University Cowgirls face off against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits at Neal Patterson Stadium in Stillwater Oklahoma on Nov. 15, 2019

On the Oklahoma State women’s soccer roster there aren’t any players named “Yochs”, “Mae-Mae” or “G”.

However, if any Cowgirl was asked about a teammate with one of those names, she would immediately know who was being referred to. Nicknames like the ones above are common on the OSU soccer team.

“With the nicknames, a lot of players come in with them,” said coach Collin Carmichael. “There is a heavy British influence in the U.S. soccer scene, and I think for a lot of those coaches, like me and (associate coach Justin Elkington), that’s what we grew up in. It is very much a cultural thing in soccer.”

Carmichael, who is from Scotland, and Elkington, who is from England, are used to using nicknames.

Someone named Smith is called “Smitty,” and as an example of a current OSU player being provided a nickname, the coaches call junior midfielder Grace Yochum, “Yochs.”

“Geez, I’m just trying to think over the years…there’s been a lot,” Carmichael said when asked if he had a favorite nickname one of his players had gone by over the years.

“We had a French player named Laurene and we called her Frenchy so that was always one that I thought was pretty cool. Gabriella (Coleman) just going by ‘G’, of course, Yolanda Odenya who’s one of our former All-Americans, her nickname was ‘Yo’. I just thought that sounded cool and I would say, ‘Hey Yo, what’s up?’”

Even though Carmichael doesn’t have a nickname, (he joked that he was too old for a nickname), he is simply referred to as ‘Collin’ by each of his players, which is something you don’t see every day.

“I think it just makes me feel older when everybody calls you coach, but maybe that’s appropriate now,” Carmichael joked. “So, either one’s fine, I tell them all the time I’ve heard a lot worse, so coach or Collin works for me.”

Carmichael also mentioned that OSU senior defender Charmé Morgan has a nickname he likes.

“Honestly, ‘Mae-Mae’ has been my nickname since I was in the fourth grade,” Morgan said. “One of my teachers just came up with it and it kind of just stuck.”

Morgan said that when she first arrived to Oklahoma State a former teammate was joking around with her and called her ‘Mae-Mae’. When Morgan told her teammates that was actually her nickname, they started laughing and knew from that point on her Cowgirl teammates would call her by it.

Gabriella Coleman got her nickname “G” during her freshman year at Mississippi State University.

“I got (my nickname) because people said it was too hard to say my full name, Gabriella, on the field, no one could really yell that,” Coleman said.

Coleman explained how she had several different nicknames back home ranging from Gab to G-Baby. However, she is very particular about one of her nicknames.

“I don’t like Gabby,” Coleman said. “I’ve always told every coach I’ve had because I will not respond to it.”

Carmichael knows that people such as Coleman can have an aversion for certain nicknames and the last thing he wants is for a nickname to splinter a relationship.

“We always have to be a little bit careful because some kids don’t like their nicknames and (the coaches) just hear the other kids calling them it and we just jump in and they are like ‘Coach I really don’t like that,’ so we say, ‘Sorry, didn’t know’”. Carmichael said.

Carmichael wants the nicknames he uses with his players to help build better relationships and cohesiveness.

“I think (using nicknames) shows a familiarity (with everyone on the team), Carmichael said.”